News ID: 264504
Published: 1139 GMT January 18, 2020

US House renews push for Pompeo Iran testimony, subpoena threat

US House renews push for Pompeo Iran testimony, subpoena threat

A US House of Representatives committee renewed a threat to subpoena Secretary of State Mike Pompeo if he does not provide information about Iran policy and President Donald Trump’s ordering of the strike that assassinated an Iranian military commander.

Representative Eliot Engel, the Democratic chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he scheduled a public hearing with Pompeo for Wednesday, Jan. 29, according to Reuters.

“This hearing deals with the most weighty issues with which our country and Congress deals, including the use of force. Therefore, I consider your testimony to be of extremely high importance and am prepared to use all legal means to ensure your attendance,” Engel wrote to Pompeo.

Friday’s announcement marked the second time the committee has tried to schedule a hearing with Pompeo this month. The first was for a hearing on Jan. 14, but Pompeo did not appear.

"If Secretary Pompeo is not going to cooperate with the committee, then we will consider very strongly taking other action in the future, including subpoenas," Engel said on Tuesday.

The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Members of Congress – including some of Trump’s fellow Republicans – have been pushing Trump’s administration for more information about the assassination by a drone strike in Iraq this month of Iran’s Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani.

Criticism has grown as administration officials have offered shifting justifications for the strike. Trump fueled controversy by saying on Twitter that “it doesn’t really matter” whether Soleimani posed an imminent threat.

The US military carried out an airstrike on the order of Trump at Baghdad International Airport on January 3, assassinating Lieutenant General Soleimani and the second-in-command of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, as well as eight other companions.

Pompeo said on Monday the assassination was part of a “bigger strategy of deterrence,” a shift from Trump's previous claim that the deadly drone strike was carried out to prevent an “imminent” attack.

Immediately after the January 3 drone strike that claimed the life of Lieutenant General Soleimani, Pompeo alleged that Soleimani had been involved in planning an “imminent attack” in the region that “put American lives at risk.”

The House last week rebuked Trump by passing a resolution that would stop the president from further military action against Iran.

"I think the administration is not being straight with the country or Congress," Engel said as he opened the hearing.



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